Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, spoke in the Commons this week at the Second Reading of the new Digital Economy Bill. The MP, who campaigned for broadband to be treated as a vital utility, expressed her delight that the Government is bringing in a ‘universal service obligation’ for broadband and spoke about the importance of decent upload and download speeds for people who live and work in rural Northumberland.
Mrs Trevelyan explained to the Minister the various challenges that come with the unique landscape of her constituency, and her hopes for how they might be overcome:
“There are also some real challenges with point-to-point wi-fi. The Northumbrian hills are quite a long way from one another. In some landscapes in the UK, the hills are closer together and point-to-point may well work much more effectively. In my constituency, the hills are large and at great distances, and the signal fades, so we will not get the impact that we need for those living in rural communities. Up the Coquet valley, farmers and their families are several miles—an hour and a half in the snow—from the next community, village or farm, but they need that comms technology available to them.”
The Berwick MP also emphasised the importance of broadband to Northumberland’s tourism industry: “Northumberland gets 7 million tourists every year. They all expect that there will be broadband and wi-fi in the houses they rent and the hotels and bed and breakfasts that they stay in, but it simply is not there, in the most beautiful parts of the county. We need to make sure that the investment is driven right through.”
You can read her speech in full by clicking HERE.